The Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on appeals challenging bail of Md Shahabuddin in a murder case for Friday, prolonging the agony for Chandrakeshwar Prasad and his wife, whose three sons was killed allegedly at the RJD strongman’s behest.
However, Prasad, also known as Chanda Babu, and his wife, Kalavati Devi, are hopeful that the apex court will rule in their favour and set aside the Patna high court’s decision to grant bail.
“If that does not happen, only god and the administration can protect us, for whoever dared speak against Shahabuddin could not live for long. I also know that any day could be my last day,” Prasad said.
Shahabuddin’s counsels have argued that the bail should not be cancelled, and he should instead be sent outside the state. Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade claimed his client has been facing media trial and the state government cannot play with the liberty of an individual.
“But this will not be justice. For me, justice goes beyond cancellation of bail. It should be the severest punishment,” he said.
The agonising wait continues, as Prasad is forced to rely on the few media people who visit his house in Siwan for updates on the court proceedings.
“We do not even get cable telecast here. I cannot know of the progress of the case. I do not know whether media persons are keeping off for fear of him. It’s a blackout in Siwan, on all news concerning him,” Prasad said, pointing to the dish antennae he got installed solely to track the progress of the case on TV.
SC lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who represents the family, maintains constant touch.
“I have talked with him at least 10 times, while his colleagues keep informing me about the developments regularly. That is the only interest left in my life,” he said.
He also wonders how chief minister Nitish Kumar will deal with dons who operate beyond the rule of law.
“How many dons facing 58 criminal cases are there in Bihar? What would he do with a don who played with his prestige also by calling him a ‘circumstantial CM’.
“I have lost three sons and a brother, but nobody from the government ever came to meet me, let alone compensate,” he said.
The apex court had on Wednesday come down heavily on the Bihar government for not placing facts before the Patna high court, asking the state if it was “in slumber till he got bail”. The counsel for the Nitish Kumar government, which has the RJD as its coalition partner, was also rebuked for not being serious in pursuing the case against Shahabuddin.
Ignored by the administration, Prasad and his family now live in constant fear.
“During the reign of Rabri Devi, security guards were provided to me. But it was withdrawn in 2011 without notice. I don’t even know by whose order the security was withdrawn,” he said. “Living in fear is now my destiny.”
However, security has now been beefed up in Siwan after intelligence reports showed that law and order might be affected if its former MP Shahabuddin’s bail is cancelled on Friday.